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The Journal of English Language and Literature , Vol.65, No.1, 145 ~ 166, 2019
Queer Relations between the American Dream and Postcolonial Resistance in The Reluctant Fundamentalist (2007)
Jina Moon
Mohsin Hamid’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist (2007) kindled debates on 9/11 discourse by providing a third-world perspective on the historical tragedy. While centering on postcolonial and international complications surrounding 9/11, Hamid addresses homosexual and racial identity in the text. Based on existing scholarship reading the text as postcolonial resistance, this essay aims to expand our view of 9/11 narratives by analyzing homosexual politics in The Reluctant Fundamentalist, which has barely been recognized by scholars. This essay examines, on the one hand, the mentor-mentee relationship between the closeted gay character Jim and Pakistani immigrant Changez (hearkening back to Greek customs of homosexuality), and, on the other hand, it looks at their mentorship as situated within postcolonial discussions concerning the effeminization of Asia and the assimilation process within a diaspora. Approaching the novel as an American dream narrative reveals an underlying anxiety about American society’s rejection about Others as well as of homosexuality. This essay argues that The Reluctant Fundamentalist critiques a white nationalist discourse after 9/11 in which orientalist impulses supersede homophobia, excluding racial others and integrating white homosexuals as patriotic members.
Key Words
9/11 narratives, American dream, mentorship, homosexuality, The Reluctant Fundamentalist
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